March is Women’s History Month, so we’re celebrating the creativity, skill, and passion of female composers by shining a spotlight on sheet music books written by women. From classical to contemporary, these books feature works by trailblazers and rising stars alike, showcasing the diversity and richness of women’s musical contributions throughout history and across genres. Whether you’re a musician, a music lover, or simply curious about the stories and sounds of women’s music-making, these sheet music books offer a window into a world of artistry and inspiration.
Women Composers – A Graded Piano Anthology
This series is an incredible and much-needed collection of over fifty works by over fifty female composers. London-born composer, professor and author Melanie Spanswick has done an exceptional job of collating these works into graded anthologies. Each book contains composer’s biographies and detailed performance notes for each piece contained within.
To quote Spanswick –
“Over the centuries, women have certainly lacked a prominent voice, be it in opera, on the concert stage, or as writers and composers. However, there is now a distinct movement, not just towards the female composer, but seemingly to readdress the significant gender imbalance throughout the arts – and not just in the arts.
In light of this long overdue shift, it seems appropriate to highlight the numerous female composers who have written for the piano, particularly those who have contributed to the educational piano music repertoire. This list is extensive, beginning nearly four hundred years ago when women were writing with just as much vigour, innovation, and dedication as they are today.”
HerStory – The Piano Collection
A valuable selection of compositions by exceptional female composers throughout history. This significant collection is suitable for intermediate to advanced level players, ranging from approximately Grade 4 to Grade 8. Excitingly, this collection also includes a piano duet and an ensemble piece for piano, clarinet, viola, and cello.
Karen Marshall, an award-winning author and piano pedagogue, wrote and compiled the collection. Each piece is accompanied by a fascinating snapshot of the 29 composers, providing insights into their lives and compositions, along with quotes from them or about them. The collection also offers suggestions for other pieces to try, personal observations from Marshall, and pedagogical activities and ideas.
New Standards: 101 Lead Sheets by Women Composers
This incredible collection contains extraordinary jazz by 101 women composers. From bebop to blues, from swing to global jazz styles, Terri Lyne Carrington’s collection includes a wide variety of well-known works and hidden gems, within a broad range of jazz and jazz-adjacent styles. This collection celebrates the work of many women who shaped the music of the past century, as well as its unsung heroes and emerging contemporary visionaries.
Available in print for the first time, you can access works from some of the best women jazz composers, such as “Throw It Away” (Abbey Lincoln), “Lawns” (Carla Bley), “Blue Nile” (Alice Coltrane), “Choro Dancado” (Maria Schneider), and “Blues for Herb” (Emily Remler). Learn and discover the works of esperanza spalding, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Geri Allen, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Dorothy Ashby, Mary Lou Williams, Nubya Garcia, Nicole Mitchell, Melissa Aldana, Terri Lyne Carrington, and many others.
From a 1922 piece by the influential Lil Hardin Armstrong to new releases by emerging contemporary artists, this collection finally opens a door to the brilliant colors and fresh sounds by so many important and often underacknowledged voices of jazz.
Women Composers in History: 18 Intermediate to Late Intermediate Piano Pieces by 8 Composers
A beautiful collection of works by eight female composers born in the nineteenth century. The book begins with a detailed preface, exploring how the women shared similar upbringings or career trajectories. The collection includes some easier and intermediate pieces amoungust the more complex, including works by Amy Marcy Beach, Teresa Carreño, Cécile Chaminade, Louise Dumony Farrenc, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Maragret Ruthven Lang, Clara Gottschalk Peterson and Clara Schumann.